Cleveland, OH—Think the teens and tweens of the country spend all their recreational time on their Xboxes or mobile app games? Truth is—like generations before them—hanging out at the mall and shopping is one of their favorite pastimes
According to a new survey by Forest City in partnership with Alexander Babbage, shopping ranks as a favorite activity among nearly half of all teens and young adults aged 13 to 24. Shopping at malls ranked above a virtual shopping experience among the entire group, with the 13-to-17-year-old age group showing the strongest preference for a bricks-and-mortar shopping experience.
What’s more, their buying decisions aren’t based solely on what their friends post on social media. Of the key shopping influences, friends and in-store displays topped the list. In fact, the study found that young shoppers are four times more likely to be influenced by friends and three times more likely to be influenced by in-store displays than by social media.
The survey also found that teens and young adults are more deal-oriented than generally expected. In addition to finding a deal, young shoppers seek an experience that delivers individuality, authenticity and uniqueness. Results also show that teens and young adults visit large shopping centers more frequently and spend more money there than at any other virtual or physical shopping venue. Specifically, the survey found that 71% of monthly expenditures by 13-to-17-year-olds and 69% by 18-to-24-year-olds are made in bricks-and-mortar shopping locations.
In addition to music, movies and video games, 46% of teens and young adults cited shopping as one of their favorite activities.
Interestingly, the younger respondents, the 13-to-17-year-olds are less brand-centric and more price-sensitive than 18-to-24-year-olds. However, both groups prefer sales and discounts over other tested ways to enhance their bricks-and-mortar shopping experience.
Gift card incentives ranked especially high among this age group, followed by sales at favorite retailers. The 13-to-17-year-old group showed a stronger interest in using malls as places to “hang out,” compared with the 18-to-24-year-old age group.
Accessories: A Positive Impact
“This generation grew up during the recession, a time when everyone was trying to cut costs, including their parents,” said Jane Lisy, Forest City’s senior vice president of marketing. “Even though our economy is now recovering, these deal-seeking habits are still important to young shoppers.”
Personalization and individuality also ranked highly among teens and young adults when it came to their shopping experience. Nearly 65% said the ability to personalize their clothes, shoes and accessories had a positive impact on their overall shopping experience.
“Young shoppers want an experience that provides a combination of personalization and convenience,” Lisy added. “Fashion is a way for them to show their individuality, so being able to purchase customized items is very important to them.”
The survey also revealed data on the role of mobile, social and digital media in the shopping experience. While most young adults indicated that using a mobile device is the least preferred way to shop online, they also said the ability to use mobile devices to receive offers and information positively affects the shopping center experience. Email communication was revealed as the preferred medium for fashion, brand and retail information.
“It’s important for brick-and-mortar stores to incorporate mobile devices into their marketing strategies,” Lisy said. “Although teens and young adults do not prefer to use their phones to purchase items, they do like to use mobile devices to get special offers, compare prices and share with friends.
About the Survey
The online survey of more than 1,000 teens and young adults ranging from ages 13 to 24 was conducted by Alexander Babbage in partnership with Forest City Enterprises, Inc. www.forestcity.net.